Coach D retires from Carver Middle after 45 Years

When “Coach D” and her students sang the Carver Countdown Song on the final Friday of the school year last week, their voices filled the classrooms and hallways of George Washington Carver Middle School with both happiness and nostalgia – a perfect tribute to Coach Annette Daniels and her teaching career.

Daniels is retiring this year after 45 years, leaving behind a career that impacted the lives of countless kids and a legacy that will continue to inspire others.

Former students, fellow teachers, parents and local officials came together on May 31 to honor Daniels and celebrate her legacy.

Miami-Dade County issued a proclamation declaring the day to be “Coach Annette M. Daniels Day.” The court inside the school gym was renamed in Daniel’s honor and former students and elected officials sang her praises.

“Coach D, thank you for being a role model for our youth throughout your career,” Coral Gables Commissioner Ariel Fernandez posted on social media. “You will be missed.”   

Buddy Howell, a former Carver student who went on to become a Super Bowl champion in the 2021 season, attended the ceremony and shared how Daniels was a pivotal instructor during his teenage years, which led to a successful career as a professional athlete.

“In 8th grade, she didn’t give me the PE award because I won it the previous years,” Howell said. “She taught me that you can be the best, but it doesn’t always have to be rewarded to be important. I’ll never forget that because it shaped me into the great leader I am today.”

Not surprisingly, Daniels was overwhelmed with all the tributes and the honors.

“I had no idea that I had that impact on their lives,” she said. “It really touched my heart.”

Daniels said she found her calling as a teacher at an early age.

“As a child, my friends and I used to go home after school and play school,” she said, laughing. “I always wanted to be a teacher.”

Daniels was born in Philadelphia. Her family moved to Jacksonville, Florida, when she was four, and she finished 7th grade there. Still young and searching for a dream, Daniels moved to Miami, where she chose to stay.

“In high school, I took a course called Early Childhood, and that was when I decided I wanted to become a teacher,” Daniels recalled.

She attended Miami-Dade College in 1977, then transferred to Florida International University for six months before pausing her degree to start a family.

“I started out as a teacher assistant in math and science. Later on, I became an assistant in physical education,” Daniels said. “But when I became an assistant teacher of physical education, I went back and finished my degree.”

She graduated from American Intercontinental University (AIU) with a business degree in 2004. Since then, she has taught physical education and coached tennis, track and field, cross country, golf, and basically any sport her students were interested in.

Daniels’ career has always been highlighted by the people around her.

Rolando Guitian, a former Carver student, returned to the school in 2001 as a physical education intern, where he developed a strong bond with Daniels.

“I was 27 years old when I started to work there, and she was a great influence and human being,” Guitian said.

Carver Middle School Principal Iliana Artime said she admires Daniels not only for the tremendous effort she invests in teaching but for her humanity as well.

Quoting one of Daniels’ favorite phrases – “We do things decently and in order” – Artime summed up Daniels’ impact on the school and her community:

“She has inspired Carver alumni to be teachers and coaches. She has an excellent rapport with students, parents and colleagues. She is active in her church and community. Coach Daniels is truly a Carver treasure,” Artime said.

Retirement will conclude a big chapter of Daniels’ life, but it won’t be her last. She says she will continue to serve the community and help others grow academically and personally. She sees herself as a potential referee in volleyball games and a “cheerleader” for all her former students.

“After 45 years of my career, I still feel that I have a little something to give back,” she said. When asked what message she would like to share with future students and teachers, she concluded with a phrase she’s known for.

“In all that they get in the run of a day, make sure they get understanding. And no matter the chaos that could arise, try to do things decently and in order.”

FIU student Grecia Pacheco wrote this story as part of a cooperative agreement between FIU’s Lee Caplin School of Journalism & Media and the Spotlight. Click here to read the original article published in the Spotlight.

Grecia Pacheco is a senior majoring in digital journalism. Appassionate with the truth and the news reporting, her career pathway is orientated to politics and international relations based on her goal to keep people informed about the importance of democracy and its impact on modern society.